Inside the Scope: Golden State Warriors x Memphis Grizzlies
- Tip Off: 5:00 PM PST
- Television: CSNBayHD
Memphis Grizzlies Team Profile
- Offensive Efficiency: 98.6 (18th in NBA)
- Defensive Efficiency: 104.5 (24th in NBA)
Scope the Opposition: 3 Shades of Blue.
Preview: The Golden State Warriors (4-2) were defeated last night by the San Antonio Spurs (5-1) in a contest that came down to the wire. Tonight, they will try to bounce back when they play the final away game of their four-game road trip against the Memphis Grizzlies (2-3).
This Memphis team looks nothing like the one that made the 2013 Western Conference finals and that’s saying something given that they have retained the same core.
They jettisoned Lionnel Hollins during the past offseason and replaced him with new head coach David Joerger in a move that has produced some mixed results.
In their opener, the Grizzlies’ offense featured a lot of movement, which went hand in hand with their new motion offense. Players rarely remained static and honestly, that was a welcomed addition for a team that did not consistently play or have solid knockdown shooters.
The movement created passing angles for players in motion heading to the basket. Between Mike Conley, Marc Gasol and Tayshaun Prince, Memphis had high-intellect players on the court to read defenses and hit open players.
However, as the regular season has progressed, Memphis’ execution has gone out the window. The Grizzlies are coughing up the ball 17.8 times per game (18th in the league) and needless to say, the miscues are hampering the offense.
Previously, the Grizz would have managed to stay afloat on the strength of their seemingly impenetrable defense, but this team simply does not offer the same level of resistance. After finishing last year ranked as the second-best defense in the league, Memphis is now rated in the league’s bottom third so far in 2013-14.
Their opponents are simply getting a multitude of open shots and also practically receiving the red carpet treatment with respect to scoring near the basket. Zach Randolph and company are among the league’s 10 worst teams at yielding points in the paint per Team Rankings. And again, they were excellent on this front last season as evidenced by their top-five ranking.
One might wonder what has caused Memphis’ freefall on that side of the ball, and Steve Danziger of 3 Shades of Blue, the Memphis Grizzlies ESPN TrueHoop affiliate blog, offers some knowledge:
“Reviewing the game tape, it’s not primarily a lack of defensive energy that’s killing the Grizzlies. The real guilty party is this very lack of communication and rotation awareness that is making our guys seem lethargic.
It is not that they are failing to extend effort in fighting through screens, but rather that they are simply getting lost in them — and the help defender is suddenly unsure of when to commit and who will subsequently have his back. Opposing offensive gameplans are working because our defensive acuity is not on point.
This stems from extensive attention to detail and a unified awareness of the mission on the defensive end. Being under-prepared defensively, or to be fair to the coaching staff I’ll say under-emphasized defensively, perpetuates a domino effect of missed rotations, silly fouls, mounting frustration, loss of focus, and eventually deflated composure.”
This certainly changes the equation for a Warriors team that was swept in the 2012-13 regular-season series against the Grizzlies. Mark Jackson’s group simply could not produce enough points against Memphis in the previous campaign and it hurt them.
This time around, the Grizzlies are still tweaking their concepts and figuring out how to snuff out plays. That gives Golden State a slight edge heading into the matchup despite the uncertain status of Stephen Curry (game-time decision at press time) for tonight’s game.
The Dubs’ offense has been in full swing and promises to put pressure on the hosts that are allowing a sizzling 38.7 percent shooting from 3-point range.
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